Students who do not have bachelors degrees will be able to study for postgraduate masters degrees as part of a Napier University initiative.
A new part-time "bridging to masters" programme offered by the Edinburgh Institute at Napier University Business School is designed for people who have no educational or professional qualifications but who have at least five years' experience in the workplace.
In what is claimed to be the first initiative of its kind in Scotland, candidates complete the £800 "bridging" course in six months - "rather than taking the traditional route of studying for five years for a part-time undergraduate degree", the university said in a media release. The course will "equip participants with the necessary skills for a university environment", the university said.
George Stonehouse, dean of Napier University Business School, said: "Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of management, leadership and creativity and how it can be applied in their workplace, while studying an area or topic of their choice to be completed about their own company via a work-based learning module."
After completion, students can join all the institute's business management degrees with the exception of the MBA.
Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, said: "It is difficult to see how six months' part-time study 'will enable anyone who went straight into work after leaving school to get the university education they missed out on', as the university claims.
"Sadly, this programme is less a means of widening access than qualifying quickly to make money," he continued.
Grant MacKerron, director of the Edinburgh Institute, said: "These are masters courses in business management that don't require specialist subject knowledge - they do not need to be underpinned by an undergraduate degree. They are aimed at people in work who may have been doing in-house courses. But nobody is given automatic entry into any masters course."